Day 1 of the Fertility Challenge: Khoresht-e Ghormeh Sabzi – Persian herb stew
If you haven’t already read it, please check out my first post on this subject here! I will stress that the 8-day challenge is to help PREPARE for pregnancy, there are never any guarantees of conception. Conception depends on a lot of other things.
Khoresh-e Ghormeh Sabzi always reminds me of when I met my husband. On one of our first date nights, he took me to A Taste of Persia in Newcastle for my first Persian meal. I was really excited since I’d never had Persian food before.
We parked our car and headed to the restaurant. As we walked through the door, the smell of saffron and delicious Persian food stopped me in my tracks. We were taken by a very friendly waitress to a table upstairs where we skimmed through an extensive list of dishes on the menu. My husband offered me some suggestions on potential dishes I may find appetising. He suggested trying a kabab and rice, but I thought that sounded boring! So after I’d gone through all the dishes, I picked out Ghormeh Sabzi – because it sounded healthy and I wanted to score points with my other half! Now stew isn’t your average recipe for success for a date night, but I really wanted to try it because it sounded really good. Let’s just say I haven’t looked back…although date nights are now over and I have to slave over a hot stove cooking it for the family. So on to the recipe!
This stew requires both time and patience, but is a REALLY popular dish with Persians. The combination of flavours and aromatic herbs, slow-cooked lamb, kidney beans and dried lemons make the stew so tasty and nutritious. It was one of my favourite dishes when I was pregnant with Cyrus and still is. Sabzi (herbs) can be bought in dried form from any Middle Eastern grocery store. I use MA Brothers in the West End of Newcastle, but if you’re in London, you can pick some up from Persepolis in Peckham! You can use fresh herbs although this takes longer…or you can get your mother-in-law to send you some over for a more authentic taste! I admit that I have added potato as an extra into this dish because my husband likes that. If you are vegetarian, simply exchange the lamb for aubergine.
- If you are using fresh herbs, then clean and wash them, dry thoroughly and chop finely.
- Heat 1/3 cup of corn oil in a large pan over medium heat and saute the chopped fresh herbs for about 15 minutes, stir frequently. Set aside.
- In a large stew pot, saute chopped onions in 2 tablespoons of oil until they are golden brown.
- Add the meat, turmeric, salt, pepper and fry until all sides are brown.
- Add the fried vegetables, liquid saffron, potatoes and dried lemons.
- Pour in enough water to cover the mixture by about 2 inches, bring to a boil on high heat for just a couple of minutes, lower the heat, cover and cook on medium to low heat for 1 and a half hours.
- Add the beans and leave for another half an hour.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary and add a little more water if needed. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and simmer for another 30 minutes. The longer ghormeh sabzi simmers the better it tastes. Slice a tomato in half and fry before placing on top of the stew. I admit that in our house we always make enough Ghormeh sabzi to last two days as it ALWAYS tastes better the next day. Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.